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When Marketing, Start with the End in Mind

Instinctively most companies start with marketing and selling, but you need to think about preparing in reverse. If you don’t have a way to get the work done, why bother starting any of the other steps?

In “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey, Jr., Covey’s second habit is to “Begin with the End in Mind.” This is great advice whether you’re launching a new area within your company, or you plan on selling a new product or service. 

Over the years we’ve talked to thousands of contractors across North America about selling and delivering high-performing HVAC systems. They shared with us that the biggest obstacle has been implementation. Many invest in the training and tools, but they’ve found the hardest part is putting the processes in place to market, sell, and deliver these products and services efficiently and profitably.

Instinctively most companies start with marketing and selling, but you need to think about preparing in reverse. For example, it seems logical to start by marketing the services, then sell them, and finally deliver them. 

This is, of course, the natural order in which the process should take place. But the truth is, if your team hasn’t been prepared for their roles, you need to reverse this order before you launch. 

The End in Mind
If you’re implementing a new area such as selling and delivering performance-based services, you should first prepare and train your field team on how to do the work, from testing to performing diagnostics, and then delivering the repairs and/or improvements. This includes making sure your techs and installers have the right tools to get the work done. 

When you really think about it, if you don’t have a way to get the work done, why bother starting any of the other steps?  This essentially is starting with the end in mind.

Once you launch your marketing efforts, your office team will be ready to handle the calls, and your sales team will be locked and loaded with what they need to tell your story, price the work, and hand it off to your installation team.

Next, focus on how to give your team the means to deliver these products and services from a logistics standpoint. This includes your process to purchase and stock the specialized parts and materials you’ll need. You’ll also need to modify your internal processes to efficiently deliver the materials to your techs and work sites. 

Once these processes are in place, you can focus on how to sell the products and services, training your sales team, and giving them the pricing guidelines and sales tools they need to succeed. 

It’s important to prepare your office staff to handle the calls that will be generated by both traditional marketing efforts as well as opportunities discovered by your service techs. 

Finally, it’s time to identify your marketing strategies. You need to answer questions like, “what should my campaigns look like, what marketing vehicles should I plan to use? What marketing materials and digital messaging would I need to develop before launching?”

If your service techs are tasked with generating opportunities through testing, they should be fully trained and equipped with the tools to test, document, and communicate their findings with your customers - and hand the “lead” off to the right members of your team.

Ready to Launch
Once you launch your marketing efforts, your office team will be ready to handle the calls, your sales team will be locked and loaded with what they need to tell your story, price the work, and hand it off to your installation team.

Your shop will also ready to go with stocking the right parts and materials and getting them to the job site as efficiently as possible. 

Finally, your installers will know what they need to do to deliver on the promises made by your sales team. Typically, you might have a quality control step at the end of the process which includes visual inspections as well as testing to make sure you delivered what you said you would.

This reverse-thinking approach will exponentially increase your chances of success with any new product and/or services launch.

Some of these preparation steps can happen concurrently as long as you have the personal bandwidth and/or the people to lead the different efforts simultaneously. 

So next time you want to start something new, don’t forget to start with the end in mind!

Dominick Guarino is CEO of National Comfort Institute (NCI), (www.nationalcomfortinstitute.com), one of the nation’s premier Performance-BasedTM training, certification, and membership organization focused on helping contractors grow and become more profitable. His e-mail is [email protected] For more info on Performance-Based ContractingTM go to WhyPBC.com or call NCI at 800/633-7058. 

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